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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mama Masha's kitchen - a perfect dinner for two

We don't all throw big holiday parties for 20 people. We don't all need a turkey the size of a small elephant. If this applies to you and you still want to have a celebration with some sort of delicious bird, a Cornish hen dinner is for you. Cornish hens taste like smokier, earthier, more "gamey" chicken and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Ingredients:

- 1 Cornish hen

- 1/2 couscous

- 1 small onion

- 1 large potato

- 1 apple

Basting solution:

- 1 bullion cube or 1/2 teaspoon of Better Than Billion

- 1 tablespoon of olive oil

- 1/2 cup of wine (your choice)

Prep:

- Make sure the hen is thoroughly thawed. It takes an hour to cook it, so if you have some time, put it in a large plastic bag and soak it in something fun - beer, wine, whiskey, you name it.

- Pre-cook about 1/2 cup of couscous. Once ready, stuff the hen with it.

- Use a pyrex or ceramic baking dish to cook it. Spray with non-stick baking spray.

- Slice the potato and lay it out in a layer at the bottom of the dish.

- Thinly slice the apple, stuff a few slices into the hen, and arrange the rest on top of the potatoes.

- Do the same with the onion.

- Sprinkle onions and apples with coarse salt.

- Rub the hen with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt. Place it on top of the potato-apple-onion layer.

Cooking:

- Pre-heat the oven to 450 deg F. Once hot - put the dish in and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

- While it's baking, prepare the basting solution - a cup of hot water mixed with bullion cube, olive oil and wine.

- At 30 minutes, turn the temperature down to 400 deg F.

- Carefully ladle the basting solution over the hen and the stuff in the pan.

- Bake another 30 minutes.

- Cut in half and serve.

Consider adding a big salad to the meal. Other varieties of this recipe include garlic and herbs (rosemary, parsley, dill), using pasta instead of potatoes, and including fruit juices (like lemon, apple, or cranberry) in the basting solution. The meal can be worthily concluded with the following simple dessert.

Ingredients:

- Fresh or frozen strawberries (if frozen, start thawing in advance).

- 1 large container of plain yogurt.

- Vanilla to taste.

- 1 bar of really amazing dark chocolate or 1 piece of Baker’s semisweet baking chocolate.

- Your cookies of choice – vanilla wafers, Graham crackers, dessert spirals, whatever else you prefer.

- 2 tall, wide glasses or small glass bowls.

Prep:

- In each glass, place a cookie at the bottom.

- Start layering – strawberries, yogurt, strawberries, yogurt, until the glass is 2/3 full. The last layer should be yogurt.

- Shred or break up chocolate by hand and sprinkle on top. Decorate with a strawberry and a cookie. If you have fresh mint, add some mint leaves too.

- Refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.

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